Archives for the month of: September, 2012

I am presenting my digital game controller, adapted to function with nipple clamps this coming Saturday. This conference presentation is something of a challenge as my work hasn’t touched on sexuality specifically, although it is pretty clear that discussing embodied digital sex play falls under play in general, and more under the particular digital embodied play. So I’m hoping to gain new insights as I observe other’s talks, performances and presentations.


The nipple clamp controller works by having a stretch sensor attached mechanically between two clamps. The change in resistance is registered by an Arduino which sends the digital signal to the computer. The players work cooperatively to control the avatar by pulling together on the respective clamps, and firing the cannon by tapping or clasping their hands. On one of each player’s hands is a glove which when touching fires the avatars weapon, destroying the descending ‘invaders’.

As yet I have no experience playing this version of the game. Our more ‘G’ rated version was quite successful and was played with apparent enjoyment by a broad range of people. I am hoping this will also be true of Sex Invaders.As it stands, this version is a very primitive prototype. However, this initial presentation should suggest how we can adapt and refine the device.











Theoretical Concerns

The nature and variety by which humans stimulate themselves is by turns astounding and appalling to people. Sexual behavior permeates human experience, and we could ask why I would choose this experiment. The answer is that most people enjoy some form of physical stimulation of their nipples. While it became apparent to me that not everybody would enjoy this, some would. So this allowed me to pursue this line of thought. But beyond testing the obvious, what do I hope to learn?

My interest is how we perceive our own experience and how we address the apparent experience of others. Very precisely, my questions are an echo of the reflections of Maurice Merleau-ponty in his essay “The Intertwining-The Chiasm”. His thought there begins by regarding the grasping of our own hands together. Which hand is felt to be touching which? If both are felt to be touching, what then happens when we grasp the hand of another? Provocatively, Merleau-Ponty goes beyond the common sense by asking why this second case isn’t the same as the first. He wrote

“If my left hand can touch my right hand… can touch it touching… Why when touching the hand of another would I not touch in it the same power to espouse in it the things that I have touched in my own?”
– Maurice Merleau-Ponty 
from“The Intertwining-The Chiasm”1964


“Is it a game?” is perhaps one of the most persistent problems in Game Studies. Trying to create a definition has bedeviled many scholars. Some have simply abandoned the problem. Arguably, attempts to abstract some  essence from games has, like attempts to ascribe some essence to Art, are trapped in overdetermined definitions. Yet, without some conceptual models, even if those models are flawed or inadequate. Rather than analyze from within the discipline’s Ur texts, Homo Ludens and Man, Play and games I will look at a far older attempt to conceptualise how we ‘know’ something. This attempt is discussed in Aristotle’s Physics where he describes the origin of any phenomena as the result of four causes (ation).

Briefly, the four causes are the Material cause, that from which something is made, and this substratum remains unchanged; the Formal cause, that which changes thus revealing the form of the phenomena; the Efficient cause, that which affects the change in a phenomena; and the Final cause (teleos) which is the purpose for which the phenomena exists. There are some conceptual difficulties in Aristotle’s model, not the least of which is that attributing a purpose to much phenomena seems to beggar the question by suggesting a theological element. Additionally, I am using phenomena where Aristotle used object. This because I want to specifically address procedural issues, and the experience of these. My questions then begin by asking what are the Aristotlean causes of games in general, and then specific games. Can games whose category is challenged( Ian Bogost’s Cow Clicker game is a good example) better reveal themselves by appealing to underlying causes?